Panagia Faneromeni – Nea Skioni
The chapel and the surrounding area belonged to the Flamourion Monastery in Thessaly. When Thessaly was liberated from the Turks, in 1881 AD, it was given to the Theological School of Halki, to which it belongs until today. It is celebrated on the ninth day of Panagia, i.e. the 23rd of August.
In the church is kept the icon of the Virgin Mary painted on an upright marble statue base. The tradition about the chapel says that a local villager saw a light in the sea approaching the shore. Thinking it was a pirate ship, he returned to the village to alert his fellow villagers. In the morning, when the light reached the shore, they saw that it was a large piece of marble, with the Virgin Mary painted on it, floating in the sea. The villagers were impressed by the miracle and asked the Turkish Bey of the area to allow them to build a chapel to house the icon. But he refused, threw down the icon and began to trample on it. The icon suddenly became as soft as clay and trapped the feet of the bey, not letting him escape. Then the Bey repented, and apologizing, he allowed this chapel to be built.
The church is stone-built and in its walls large angular stones from older buildings were distinguished. The large and strong niche, 1.25 m thick, the older building phases found under the current floor of the temple with test cuts by the archaeologists, and the masonry revealed by the wave, sparsely and which, on the shore next to the temple, indicate that the current building occupied the place of an unknown ruined early Christian temple.
The interior of the church was filled with frescoes, of which an important part still survives. Because of the destruction of 1821, there are very few frescoed churches in Halkidiki. In Panagia Faneromeni the largest percentage of frescoes is preserved, in relation to the original total, which is why the monument is of great importance for the study of ecclesiastical painting in Halkidiki in pre-revolutionary times.
Local tradition says that the icon cries before something bad happens in the country. It is said that the icon wept before World War II, just before the invasion of Cyprus, and even recently when the issue of the name of Skopje came up.
The icon of Panagia Faneromeni in the iconostasis of the church has been almost completely destroyed. Over the centuries and the interventions of the faithful, the coating and the fresco have disappeared, revealing the sockets of the feet of the ancient bronze complex that rested on the base when it was in place. The discovery was made early enough to create the graceful popular interpretation of the footprints of the Turk trying to sink the floating marble-image into the sea by stepping on it.